Press Release

Seventy-One Percent of NYC Voters Support a Ban on Horse and Carriage Rides According to New Poll

The new poll showing overwhelming support for a horse-drawn carriage ban follows a viral video of an elderly 28 to 30-year-old horse named Ryder collapsing on a New York City street


NEW YORK — The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Voters for Animal Rights announced new polling results showing New York City voters overwhelmingly support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in the city.

Results from polling voters in New York City include:

  • Seventy-one percent support a ban on horse and carriage rides proposed by some city elected leaders “because of numerous charges of abuse of the horses.”
  • Sixty-nine percent said they have “been aware of the mistreatment of horses (used in the carriage industry).”
  • Ninety percent of city voters said that the “issue of animal rights” in New York City is very important or somewhat important to them.

On August 10, 2022, a horse named Ryder collapsed in New York City and nearly died in the street at 45th and 9th in Midtown Manhattan after being worked in the brutal summer heat wave. This incident, captured on video, has reignited calls from the public for the New York City Council to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City due to the cruelty involved.

Ryder the horse collapsed on 9th Street in New York City
Ryder collapsed on 9th Avenue in New York City

On July 14, 2022, City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) introduced legislation, Intro 573, that would end the horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City by prohibiting the issuance of new licenses and replace the carriages with electric options. The legislative proposal is the latest attempt to offer some relief to horses forced to work in the carriage industry following the Carriage Horse Heat Relief Bill that passed in 2019, which strengthened protections for horses working during New York City’s sweltering summer but is still not enough to protect them from being forced to work in the terrible conditions they continue to endure.

“It is disgraceful that we’ve allowed this inhumane industry and public safety threat to continue,” says New York native and actress, Rooney Mara. “The incident involving Ryder is only one of countless incidents captured on camera that show the reality of these horses’ lives. This industry is an embarrassment to New Yorkers and I implore Speaker Adams to take immediate action to prevent further suffering and preventable deaths.”

“It’s no surprise that 71 percent of New Yorkers support protecting horses from the abusive carriage horse drivers by shutting this cruel industry down,” said Allie Taylor, president of Voters for Animal Rights. “Forcing horses to pull carriages on the busy streets of New York City is barbaric, and we’re calling the City Council to swiftly pass legislation to ban horse carriages.”

“There is nothing romantic about animal suffering — or horses forced to work rain or shine, on hot asphalt, and often to the point of exhaustion,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports legislative efforts to end this cruel industry and urges the city council to listen to New York City voters and institute a ban.”

Several cities — including Salt Lake City, Chicago, Camden, Treasure Island, Pompano Beach, Palm Beach, Key West, and Biloxi — have already banned horse-drawn carriages.

The poll was conducted by John Zogby Strategies online on August 24, 2022, and has a margin-of-sampling error of +/-4.1 percentage points for overall results.

The official poll results are available upon request.

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